No clue in Putin’s Victory Day speech on future plan
May 10 2022 12:50 AM
President Vladimir Putin takes part in the Immortal Regiment march on Victory Day, which marks the 7
President Vladimir Putin takes part in the Immortal Regiment march on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in central Moscow yesterday.

Reuters/ Kyiv/Kharkiv

Vladimir Putin exhorted Russians to battle in a defiant Victory Day speech yesterday, but was silent about plans for any escalation in Ukraine, despite Western warnings he might use his Red Square address to order a national mobilisation.
In Ukraine, there was no let-up in fighting, with Kyiv describing a stepped-up Russian offensive in the east and a renewed push to defeat the last Ukrainian troops holding out in a steelworks in ruined Mariupol.
Yesterday’s annual parade in Moscow — with the usual ballistic missiles and tanks rumbling across the cobblestones — was easily the most closely watched since the 1945 defeat of the Nazis that it celebrates.
Western capitals had openly speculated for weeks that Putin was driving his forces to achieve enough progress by the symbolic date to declare victory — but with few gains so far, might instead announce a national call-up for war.
He did neither, but repeated his assertions that Russian forces were again fighting Nazis.
“You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no-one forgets the lessons of World War Two. So that there is no place in the world for executioners, castigators and Nazis,” Putin said from the tribune outside the Kremlin walls.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his own speech, promised Ukrainians they would triumph.
“On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win,” said Zelensky, in plain army garb with his shirt sleeves rolled up.
In a clear reference to Putin, Zelensky added: “The one who is repeating the horrific crimes of Hitler’s regime today, following Nazi philosophy, copying everything they did — he is doomed.”
Putin’s war has killed thousands of civilians, sent millions fleeing and reduced cities to rubble. Russia has little to show for it beyond a strip of territory in the south and marginal gains in the east.
In Poland, the Russian ambassador was surrounded by protesters at a memorial ceremony and doused in red paint. Ambassador Sergei Andreyev, his face dripping and his shirt stained, said he was “proud of my country and my president”.
After an assault on Kyiv was defeated in March by strong Ukrainian resistance, Russia poured more troops in for a huge offensive in the east last month. But Russian gains have been slow at best, and Western arms are flooding into Ukraine for an expected counter-attack.
Western military experts — many of whom initially predicted a quick Russian victory — now say Moscow could be running out of troops. A full declaration of war would let Putin activate reservists and send conscripts.
“What rhetoric Putin used in his speech is immaterial. If he didn’t declare war, or a general mobilisation, that’s what (is) important,” tweeted Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at Britain’s University of St Andrews.
“Without concrete steps to build a new force, Russia can’t fight a long war, and the clock starts ticking on the failure of their army in Ukraine.” The war still seems to enjoy strong public support in Russia, where independent journalism is effectively banned and state television says Russia is defending itself from Nato. Conscription would test that support.
Serhiy Haidai, governor of Ukraine’s frontline Luhansk province, said rescuers were trying to begin sifting through the site of a school in the town of Bilohorivka after a Russian attack believed to have killed 60 people there on Sunday.
Ukrainian forces were holding firm at the towns of Rubizhne and Popasna, major
targets of Russia’s advance, he said.

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